Record Number of Code Camp Tracks, Quality and Quantity!

Posted on September 5th, 2013 by Peter Kellner

It’s really awesome to see such great tracks coming this year.  It’s a lot of work for the track organizers to pull all these great speakers together, but 100% worth it!  We now have the following tracks up on the site.


C++ and C++11

HTML5 ARIA, Mobile Apps By Intuit Development teams *NEW

Pivotal *NEW

SQL Server Developers and DBAs by PASS *NEW

Windows 8

Windows Phone

And, we still have tracks to come (Sencha, Google, Java, Career,Kids and one more track from the PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) guys).

This year, we have more rooms than ever before with the addition of the new Foothill College Physical Sciences building.  Make sure you tell all your coding friends to come.  It’s going to be epic!

Peter Kellner
Silicon Valley Code Camp Coordinator


First two tracks announced! C++ and Azure

Posted on August 19th, 2013 by Peter Kellner


Email Sent To All Attendees Follows:

Today, we are announcing our first two published tracks,  C++ and Azure.  As in years before, our tracks are specially prepared by industry experts to make sure that the experience you get from attending these tracked sessions is second to none.  Both tracks include world renowned speakers presenting state of the art material.  To see other tracks as we publish them, visit our tracks page.  To hear about them as they are announced, follow us on Twitter @sv_code_camp.


Just a small housekeeping announcement.  We really appreciate (and need) all the volunteers we can get.  Last year we had over 200, each contributing at least 2 hours and becoming the proud owners of the Silicon Valley Code Camp TShirt as well as having the opportunity to attend our speakers, volunteers and sponsors appreciation barbeque dinner Saturday night of code camp weekend at the college.  We would love for you to join our elite crew of volunteers. If you think you might be interested, make sure to login to the code camp site and on your registration or profile page, select the box letting us know you can help.  We will contact you a week or so before the event with more detailed instructions and also let you choose the time slot and job you want to help with.


Things are moving well with only 46 days to go before camp.  Can’t wait to see everyone again.

Alpha 1 of New Silicon Valley Code Camp Mobile App, NEED FEEDBACK!

Posted on July 29th, 2013 by Peter Kellner


Today is our public preview of our new SV Code Camp mobile app.  We need to make sure it is up to the job as we get closer to camp and would really like feedback.  It’s an Web App for mobile that works best on new smart phones, specifically, IOS, Android and Windows 8.  On other phones (Windows 7.5, older IPhones and Android devices it is not very functional).  The URL is really easy.

Aside from doing things like letting you select your session interest on mobile now, you can also view all the sessions by the top tag (category) associated with the session.  At the moment, the mobile app is the only way to view sessions by the top tag.  Try logging in anonymously or with your code camp credentials and pick the sessions you are interested in. To see how it will work with session times and rooms once we assign them, go to the “info” page on the app and change to viewing a previous year, then make sure to go to the “filters” and change the sort to time or room.  And, don’t forget to check out the new “Tag” sort from the filters page also.  That only works for this  year since 2013 is the first year we are introducing the new top tag per session.

For those interested, this app was partially built as a technology demonstration for my 4+ hour Sencha Touch (Mobile JavaScript framework) Plurasight Training video.  If you are interested in know more about Sencha Touch, check it out.  It’s a labor of love.

Below are some screen shots of the new app waiting for you.

Great Progress Towards Code Camp 2013 Version 8!

Posted on May 25th, 2013 by Peter Kellner

Last year at this time we had less than half of the currently listed 122 sessions.  We almost missed having Douglas Crockford for year number 8 but to our good fortune, his Europe plans changed and he is again hear for his 8th year in row!

As part of our new web site design, we’ve created a brand new Spread The Word badge that we would very much appreciate you posting on your blog, internal or external company web sites, or any social network that will take it.

Attracting world class speakers is something that all you attendees make happen so please please please, help us spread the word.  All you have to do is go to the page: SpreadTheWord, copy the html from the text box and put it on your site.  You can see an example of what this looks like below:

CodeCamp Number 8 at FootHill College.    

We are actively seeking Track Organizers and Sponsors for code camp.  Not all sessions at camp are tracked, but for those that are it’s important we have key people make sure those tracks have consistent high quality content. If you are interested in being an organizer, please let us know.

As always, thanks for everyone’s awesome support.  We succeed every year because of the big efforts of our great speakers, sponsors and of course you attendees. And, of course, please make sure you are registered by logging into the site, going to your profile page and making sure you have checked the days you plan on attending. Then, choose the sessions you are interested in by going to the sessions page.

2013 Site OPEN FOR REGISTRATION! (10/5,10/6)

Posted on April 27th, 2013 by Peter Kellner


We are pleased to announce Silicon Valley Code Camp‘s 2013 dates. Please mark your calendar for our 8th Annual Event on October 5 & 6 at Foothill College in Los Altos, CA.

SVCC is the largest of its kind in the world. This free event is a great chance to network with other high caliber developers from the Bay Area. Last year we had over 200 awesome sessions, nearly 2,500 attendees, 300+ volunteers and 40+ sponsors. We are excited to continue the tradition and thank everyone for their support.

2013 is shaping up to be another great year. We already have 50+ sessions and several sponsors lined up. Even so, we need your help:

  • Register ASAP to reserve your spot (last year registration was so successful that we may need to limit reservations).
  • Tell your friends and coworkers about the event
  • Know of any great speakers?  Let them know about us and encourage them to sign up as a speaker.
  • Know any companies that would be great sponsors? We’d appreciate an introduction or have them call us directly at 1-866-385-4323.


We’re looking forward to another great event for the 8th year in a row! We hope you can make it.

Peter Kellner, Coordinator

Are Programmers Impossible to Manage?

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by David Spark

Here is some of my coverage of the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I was reporting for Dice and Dice News.

While there is tons of in-person and online training to be a developer, when it comes time to become a manager we usually have little to no training. And you need that training because software people are not the easiest people to manage. It’s one of the realizations that Ron Lichty and Mickey Mantle came to appreciate and as a result, just wrote and published a book on the topic entitled, “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.”

I spoke with Ron Lichty at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference about his book and his companion presentation, “Crash Course in Managing Software People and Teams.”

The number one rule of managing software teams is “you’ve got to connect with them and you have to gain their respect,” said Lichty.

One person in his presentation asked if you can be respected as a manager if you haven’t been a programmer first. Lichty doesn’t think it’s possible. Taking the leap from coder to manager means you have to leave the coding behind. We heard this time and again from different presenters. If you become a manager, you can’t continue to code.

“If you continue to try to code, you will code and not manage,” said Lichty.

The goal of managing software teams

“When you manage programmers you want two things,” said Lichty. “When they’re working on their own you want them to get into the zone. And you want all the rest of the world to disappear. You want them to climb into the microprocessor and just listen to the gates open and close. And then when they climb back out of it you want them to be part of a team and you want them to demonstrate teamwork and you want them to interact with each other.”

Doing that, admitted Lichty, is not easy.

Watch the video, especially until the end where Lichty has a great joke about the difference between introverted and extroverted programmers.



The Meaning of Code

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by David Spark

Here is some of my coverage of the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I was reporting for Dice and Dice News.

For years philosophers and religious icons have tried to tackle the great question, “What’s the meaning of life?” At the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp, I asked the incredibly geeky developers, “What’s the meaning of code?” Burn some incense and watch their answers.

The Art of Dashboard Design

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by David Spark

Here is some of my coverage of the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I was reporting for Dice and Dice News.

There are three different types of dashboard design: strategic, tactical, and operational. As you move from strategic, to tactical, to operations, the level of detail in the dashboard goes up. Each serves a different purpose and a different audience, explained Lee Lukehart, Chief Data Visualist for SavvyData in his presentation “The Art of Dashboard Design” at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference at Foothill College in Los Altos, California.

Lukehart outlined the purpose of the three types of dashboards.

Strategic dashboard: Designed for executives to monitor ongoing trends on a year-over-year basis.  It’s often graphical. It’s not designed for real-time monitoring. For a dashboard to be strategic it needs a main metric you’re trying to meet, so that you can see if execution aligns with strategy.

Tactical dashboard: Built for managers to manage. Manage performance against preset target. It should be a tool to use for analysis and link results to actions. Plus the dashboard should help the manager discover problems and opportunities.

Operational dashboard: This is for the on-the-ground workers. It is where you see precise measurements in performance and other details. Information is often delivered in real time.

Avoid communications problems with effective data visualization

If not done right, dashboards can be confusing, boring, inaccurate, and worthless. Here’s how to avoid falling into that dashboard trap:

  1. Know when not to use a certain visualization: Pie charts are abused. They’re not efficient. In many cases, just presenting a number will be more efficient. A table or list is often more preferable.
  2. Know your data: Source the scope. Make sure your data is clean and complete. Avoid GIGO (garbage in garbage out).
  3. Consider your audience: Understand their needs, objectives, and their familiarity with the communications tools. What is their level of knowledge and experience?
  4. Determine the chart’s message or focus: Your dashboard is telling a story. Is it a ranking, a timeline, a category, proportion of whole, variance/deviation, distribution, correlation, or geospatial?
  5. Select best chart type for the message
  6. Construct data transforms as needed: Derive new data to tell the real story – aggregate, segment, factor, augment, find, and organize.
  7. Conduct pre-flight checklist: Make sure you’ve taken the following into account before you release your dashboard to the world. Consider human factors, data issues, scaling, labeling, chart type choice, visual formatting, creating an über chart, and chart titling.

Human factors in visual perception

Before you let a dashboard out the door, think about how it will be perceived. Is your dashboard creating skewed results or results certain people can’t understand?

For example, take into consideration normal human optical perception issues, such as color blindness. If you’re going to be using the color red and green to show negative and positive results, also add other indicators like maybe a plus or minus sign, or an arrow going up or down. Also, take advantage of tools within Photoshop that shows how your dashboard will look to a color blind person.

Don’t intentionally or accidentally lie with your charts. One way to misinterpret values is to not show the zero level. All charts should show the zero level so you can see appropriate relations.

Let Your Thoughts Speak in a Technical Interview

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by David Spark

Here is some of my coverage of the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I was reporting for Dice and Dice News.

Have you frozen during a technical interview? Have you been stumped by a question during a technical interview? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re everyone that’s been through a technical interview.

“No one has ever gotten every question correct,” said David McCarter, who led a presentation at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp entitled, “Surviving the Technical Interview.”

McCarter advises that you come prepared for an interview. It sounds obvious, but he’s amazed at the number of interviewees that don’t research the company, the job, or study technical questions.

While you can’t know everything, you still need to practice and there are tons of technical questions online to get your chops up. The purpose of the technical interview is to see where you fit into the company’s skill sets, said McCarter.

Vocalize your thoughts

“Know what you don’t know, and admit it,” said McCarter.

Being upfront about where your knowledge exists and doesn’t exist is something the interviewer looks for. So be truthful. Even when you don’t know the answer, you can still show your process in how you’d go about solving the problem, or explain that you’ve been reading up on the topic even though you haven’t done it yourself.

Don’t be stumped by silly logical questions. They aren’t meant to be answered correctly. They’re designed to see how you go about problem solving, said McCarter.

McCarter quoted a question from Microsoft that asks, “Why are manhole covers round?” The point of the question is not to get a correct answer, but rather to hear how you think. So don’t internalize your thoughts when asked such a question. Be expressive.

McCarter recognizes that developers sometimes have a hard time expressing their thoughts. If that’s your normal behavior, put it aside for the interview and think out loud.



.NET User Group Participation Critical for .NET Success

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by David Spark

Here is some of my coverage of the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I was reporting for Dice and Dice News.

“It’s sometimes lonely in front of the computer,” admitted Mathias Brandewinder, lead for the San Francisco chapter of Bay .NET, a Bay Area user group for .NET developers. We spoke at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference at Foothill College in Los Altos, California.

Brandewinder joined the group and eventually ran a chapter of Bay .NET because he wanted to be on the forefront of .NET’s cutting edge technologies, and he also wanted to meet other fellow developers. The Bay Area, said Brandewinder, is admittedly not the most Microsoft-friendly area and finding other local .NET developers is really important. Plus, having the weekly education (Bay .NET meets four times a month) is critical because the .NET framework is huge and it’s changing very fast. To maintain his .NET chops, it’s important for Brandewinder to keep up with what’s important and not important.

Brandewinder ended up a .NET developer accidentally seven years ago. As a kid he wanted to be an architect. Software development filled that desire to create, but at a higher level at an even more experimental level, said Brandewinder, who hasn’t had a problem finding work ever since he became a .NET developer.

“I think [software development] is one of the most human people-engaging jobs around,” said Brandewinder. “I love talking with people who are expressing what they do, and you have to understand what they do and give them a great solution. It’s a very exciting problem.”